Zambia celebrates 48th anniversary
WINDHOEK – Zambia yesterday celebrated 48 years of independence from the United Kingdom, a period which saw Africa’s top copper producer being led by five different heads of state belonging to different political parties.
Ambassadors, high commissioners and Namibian parliamentarians yesterday thronged a Windhoek hotel to celebrate the day with Zambians.
During the celebrations, Zambia’s High Commissioner, Wendy Sinkala, paid tribute to compatriots and forefathers in Zambia who fought tooth and nail, even to the extent of losing their lives, to make self-rule possible on October 24, 1964.
“As we commemorate our independence, we are proud to reflect on a myriad of socio-economic achievements which Zambia has scored over the years against the backdrop of a stable political environment, which has seen change of governments through an acceptable, conventional and tested democratic system,” she said.
She added that Zambia’s stable political environment has been the catalyst to the country’s economic growth by creating investor confidence.
Zambia’s economy has been resilient in 2012, and its Gross Domestic Product is currently estimated at just over 7 percent, said Sinkala.
Sinkala also announced that Zambia recently issued an inaugural 10-year bond worth US$750 million (N$6.5 billion).
“The bond order book climaxed at US$11.9 billion (N$103 billion) and only prudence and capacity considerations determined the US$750 million. This reflects the high confidence the international investor community has in Zambia as a safe and preferred place to invest,” she said.
Sinkala also lauded the Namibian Government for ensuring smooth trade, adding that the bilateral trade relations between Zambia and Namibia are warm and friendly.
Following the recent acquisition of land to build a dry port at the Port of Walvis Bay, Sinkala expects trade volumes to be boosted significantly once the dry port is completed.
“Now we can officially say that Zambia is not a landlocked country anymore. The Port of Walvis Bay is much more convenient than most ports Zambia has used in the past because there is no congestion at all,” said the High Commissioner.
During an exclusive interview with New Era after the official proceedings, Sinkala said a Zambian company approached her to enquire about the prospect of buying fish from Namibia.
“Very soon Namibia will be exporting fish to Zambia through one of our companies. This will add to the existing relations such as the sub-regional projects,” she said. The projects include the Zizabona project, Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area and the establishment of the Southern African Science Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management, she said.
The High Commissioner wants to see Namibia and Zambia exploring new areas of economic cooperation, including marine and related areas so as to maximise economic gains that will help create wealth and defeat the scourge of poverty in the two countries.
In his remarks as the guest of honour, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Utoni Nujoma, described Namibia’s relations with Zambia as “legendary and all-weathered”.
“The excellent relations between Namibia and Zambia were born out of the liberation struggle of both countries, and I can safely say this bond will last forever,” said Nujoma.